Handling financial matters when a family member passes away

Support payments and entitlements that may be available when a family member loses their life at work.

Date last updated

Friday 03 Jul 2020

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Getting your finances in order

When you are grieving, it is difficult to think about what you need to do, especially in relation to organising your finances. We will help outline some of the important matters you may need to deal with.

Getting your finances in order

Things you should look into

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Death certificate

You may find that it is difficult to work out any financial matters until you have received your family member's death certificate. The release of a death certificate may take several weeks, though it is possible to request an interim death certificate from the Coroners Court.

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Financial advice

It may be helpful for you to make an appointment for financial counselling to help you plan ahead. There are several organisations that provide financial counselling (some free of charge).

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Life insurance

Your family member may have had one or more life insurance policies. It is worthwhile checking with your loved one's superannuation fund about this.

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A will

Check if your family member made a will. If unsure, your family lawyer or the State Trustee may hold the original copy of the will or be able to provide you with advice if a will hasn't been prepared.

Urgent bills

In emergency circumstances, regular bills can sometimes be suspended for a period of time, including mortgage, car loan, direct debit bills, credit cards payments.

We recommend getting in touch with your financial institutions or credit service providers to see if this can be arranged.

Services Australia assistance

If you're in a difficult financial position, you may wish to contact Services Australia. They can let you know if you are entitled to any financial assistance. For more information, please contact Services Australia on 13 24 68.

Support with funeral and other related expenses

If eligible, the WorkSafe agent of your family member's employer will pay the reasonable costs of the funeral and other related expenses, up to $15,230.

You can find out who the agent is by asking your family member's employer or getting in touch with WorkSafe's advisory service on 1800 136 089.

WorkSafe entitlements

  1. Lump sum payment for dependants

    Lump sum payments may be made to dependents of a worker who has lost their life as a result of a work-related injury or illness. A dependency claim must be completed and lodged with the deceased worker's employer.

    Lump sum payments are set at $623,950* to be shared between all eligible dependants.

    Dependants are able to recover damages of up to $1,030,920* under the Wrongs Act. Any paid WorkSafe entitlements are deducted from damages obtained under the Wrongs Act.

Collating family members' finances

Your family member may have had personal insurance or other entitlements that are payable after their death.

Some payments can be paid to the person they nominated (without the need for a will) while others may need to be paid into their estate; the estate will then be managed:

  • if there is no will, the person named in the Letters of Administration (issued by the Supreme Court)
    • if there is a will, the Executor of their estate (as named in the will).

      Superannuation

      Your family member may have one or more super funds. You should get in touch with the fund sooner rather than later to ensure you can receive any available benefits.

      If you are unaware of the fund, you can contact your family member's employer, Union or the Australian Tax Office (ATO) to help find out the name and contact details of the super fund. We encourage you to have a support person with you when making these calls.

      Previous superannuation

      Your family member may also have had contributions paid by a past employer into other superannuation funds and lost contact with them.

      You can check this by contacting the Australian Taxation Office Lost Members Register.

      *Figures are based on the date of death and indexed annually. The maximum applies to those claims made on or after 5 April 2010. Figures provided are correct as at 1 July 2019

      Employment entitlements

      Your family member may have unpaid annual leave, long service leave or portable long service (for industries such building and construction, contract cleaning, security and community services).

      These entitlements are often paid to the estate of the person that has passed away. If you are unaware of any employment entitlements, you can contact your family member's employer or union or:

      • CoINVEST for workers within the building and construction industry
        • Portable Long Service Authority for workers within the contract cleaning, security and community services industries

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